From spectacular diving spots to the largest water national park, West Papua has a lot of traits to present. Its tropical climate also makes various kinds of fruit plants thrive in that land. As some Papuan native fruits may only be seen in certain seasons, others are available year-round. For these West Papuan fruits, they offer a full package of nutrients, which is so good for our physical health. Ergo, look at the following list to get more references about some native, nutritious fruits in West Papua.
Matoa is a native tropical fruit of West Papua with the Latin name of Pometia pinnata. The fruit flesh of matoa has a chewy texture and is whitish, translucent in color. Matoa itself tastes like a combination of lychee, rambutan, and longan. Unfortunately, the tree only bears fruit once a year. The flowering process occurs between July to October and takes three months to get to the harvest stage, which is around January to February.
Apart from its delicious tang, Matoa is also one of the West Papuan fruits known for its benefits for health and beauty. This fruit has diuresis properties that promote the release of more fluids in our body so that it would be good for people with hypertension. If the fluid content in our body is high, it can increase the level of blood pressure.
Matoa also contains powerful antioxidants called tannin. Thus, this fruit is highly effective in fighting free radicals, which can trigger many serious diseases such as cancer, stroke, and diabetes. The content of tannin compounds in the fruit also suppresses bacterial growth by inhibiting the formation of enzymes and DNA needed by bacteria to develop. As for the beauty benefits, matoa carries a lot of vitamin E, which is so helpful in maintaining youthful skin. What is more, this fruit can promote skin cell regeneration effectively and helps prevent signs of premature aging.
Buah Merah or Red Fruit
Red fruit or Pandanus conoideus is one of the endemic fruits in West Papua. Local people call it kuansu. As the name suggests, its skin is red and has the shape of an elongated oval. The length of red fruit can be up to 55 cm with an average diameter of 10-15 cm.
Usually, people in West Papua serve this fruit as a special dish in a traditional ceremony called bakar batu, a cooking ritual as a form of gratitude for marriage or birth, or a moment to gather a group of indigenous warriors. In Papua itself, red fruit is usually consumed by eating it directly or just cutting it into pieces. Some people also boil or grill this fruit.
Believed to have many health advantages, Drs. I Made Budi M.S, a lecturer and nutritionist from the University of Cendrawasih (UNCEN) have researched the nutritional content of the fruit. He found that red fruit contains high antioxidants.
In this unique Papuan fruit, you can find beta-carotene, carotene, and tocopherol. It’s also rich in linoleic acid, omega 9, oleic acid, and many more. With its abundance of nutritional content, red fruit can act as an anticancer, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory agent for your body.
Even not as famous as red fruit or matoa, Woromo is scientifically-proven that it’s rich in health benefits. So, Dr. Been Kogoya, SP, MMA, a native Papuan researcher, has done a Pharmacology test for this fruit. Based on the result of his research conducted at Brawijaya University, Malang, woromo fruit contains omega 3, DHA, EPA, and omega 2.
Dr. Been also added that the nutrients in woromo are useful for treating cholesterol, uric acid, cancer, and tumor. Other than that, the way to consume this fruit is quite unique. Papuans usually burn or smoke woromo first, then eat it. Its flesh is tasty and contains a lot of water too.
As one of the native West Papuan fruits that offer many advantages for wellness, this fruit is easily found in Fakfak Regency. Usually, locals process the pala Fakfak into drinks or foods. Also, its seed is delicious when added especially to desserts like pumpkin or apple pie. Some people mix the pala seeds into Alfredo sauce too. Then for some refreshment practices, pala is often used to make wine, eggnog, syrup, and many more. Most of all, pala Fakfak offers many health benefits, ranging from overcoming insomnia, indigestion, to colds.
Local people call rabon bi fruit as keben. It looks a bit like water guava. Also, this fruit has stringy skin inside and a shell containing a seed within. Unluckily, we cannot eat rabon bi as food and only use it as medicine. That’s because the West Papua people usually use its starch as an eye medicine, which is believed to heal cataracts, farsightedness, astigmatism, and farsightedness.
That is a little insight into the West Papuan fruits, which can bring many benefits for our body. Some of them have also been exported, especially red fruit, which has been scientifically-proven to be beneficial for health.